The NHL’s Department of Player Safety announced today that Tampa Bay Lightning defenceman Mikhail Sergachev will have a hearing for his hit to the head on Toronto Maple Leafs forward Mitch Marner. Update: Sergachev is banned for two games for the illegal check to the head.
Tampa Bay’s Mikhail Sergachev will have a hearing today for an Illegal Check to the Head on Toronto’s Mitchell Marner.
— NHL Player Safety (@NHLPlayerSafety) November 5, 2021
Mikhail Sergachev Summoned For Player Safety Hearing
The hit happened in the first period of Thursday’s game between the two teams. Sergachev was given a two-minute minor penalty for the play but did not receive a game misconduct. Marner was a little shaken up after the hit but did not miss any time and actually finished with the most ice-time of all players in the Leafs’ 2-1 win.
Sergachev hit on Marner pic.twitter.com/oMGlKDMXq1
— SiriusXM NHL Network Radio (@SiriusXMNHL) November 5, 2021
Leaf’s captain John Tavares did not mince words at the intermission: “I thought [the hit] was dirty. Clips him right in the head. [I] just want to go in there and be there for my teammate. I just didn’t like the hit.”
Sergachev, 23, has been off to a great start for the Lightning. The 6’3” defenceman has two goals, four assists, and 10 penalty minutes in 10 games. He’s continually logged over 20 minutes of ice-time a night, sitting third in overall ice-time for the Lightning on the year.
What This Means Going Forward
The hearing will not be in-person, which means that the maximum suspension Sergachev will face is five games.
In looking at the play, the league will likely take into account a number of factors. For one, Marner was already engaged with another player (as a result of an egregious hook) before Sergachev got involved. Secondly the defenseman did have a clear option to play the puck instead of the body, and finally the focal point of the resulting contact was Marner’s head.
Sergachev’s relatively clean history in the league should aid him in the hearing. In 2019, Sergachev was fined for a cross-check in a game against the Sabres but has never been suspended by the NHL Department of Player Safety. The fact that Marner was not injured on the play should also factor into the sentence. All in all, the likeliest scenario is a one or two-game suspension for Sergachev.